García Sarmiento de Sotomayor, 2nd Count of Salvatierra

García Sarmiento de Sotomayor
Conde de Salvatierra
Marqués de Sobroso
Caballero de Alcántara
Viceroy of New Spain
In office
November 23, 1642  May 13, 1648
Monarch Philip IV
Prime Minister Count-Duke of Olivares
Preceded by Juan de Palafox
Succeeded by Marcos de Torres
16th Viceroy of Peru
In office
September 20, 1648  February 1655
Monarch Philip IV
Preceded by The Marquis of Mancera
Succeeded by Luis Enríquez de Guzmán
Personal details
Born c. 1595
Died June 26, 1659
Lima, Peru
Religion Catholic

Don Diego García Sarmiento de Sotomayor, Marquis of Sobroso and 2nd Count of Salvatierra (Spanish: Don García Sarmiento de Sotomayor, Marqués de Sobroso y segundo Conde de Salvatierra) (c. 1595, Spain June 26, 1659, Lima) was a Spanish viceroy of New Spain (November 23, 1642 to May 13, 1648) and of Peru (1648 to 1655).

Early life

García Sarmiento de Sotomayor was born in Spain in the last decade of the Sixteenth Century. He was a descendant of Don Diego de Sarmiento, a knight commander of the Order of Alcántara and gentleman in waiting to the king. He married the noble woman Doña Antonia de Acuña y de Guzmán, who accompanied him to New Spain as the virreina.[1]

As Viceroy of New Spain

When New Spain Viceroy Diego López Pacheco, 7th Duke of Escalona, a first cousin of King John IV of Portugal, fell under suspicion at the Spanish Court for possible links to the Portuguese, King Philip IV of Spain gave orders to Visitor-general and Bishop of Puebla Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza to remove the viceroy from office and became viceroy himself. However, his tenure was short lived and the crown named Sarmiento de Sotomayor on July 30, 1642 to replace him. Palafox had hoped to remain as viceroy,[2] since he had plans to undertake a sweeping reform in New Spain, but the crown's appointment of Salvatierra ended that hope. Salvatierra landed in Veracruz in early October 1642 and arrived in Mexico City on November 23, 1642, and took up his duties as viceroy. Palafox remained a powerful figure in New Spain,retaining his posts of visitor-general and Bishop of Puebla (New Spain's second largest city). Palafox had undertaken a vigorous political reform when he was viceroy, which Salvatierra sought to overturn—and succeeded. The period between Salvatierra's 1642 arrival and Palafox's forced departure in 1649 from New Spain for a minor bishopric in Osma, Spain "inaugurated a period of severe political tension, marked by the development of a powerful alliance bent on destroying Palafox's [reform] programme in all its manifestations."[3]

Like earlier viceroys, he was soon faced with major flooding in the city (1645). The canal of Nochistongo was obstructed, and this allowed the water of Lake Zumpango to enter into Lake Mexico, raising its level and flooding parts of the city. The viceroy ordered the canal cleaned and the obstructions removed. This removed the danger to the city.

The viceroy sent another expedition (1648) to explore, conquer and colonize the Californias, but the expedition returned without having found lands of much interest. Viceroy Salvatierra also founded the city of Salvatierra, Guanajuato, and established the presidio of Cerro Gordo, on the highway from Mexico City to the mines at Parral. He made peace with various Indian tribes on the northern frontier, and suppressed rebellions by other tribes. He celebrated auto-de-fes in 1647 and 1648. The celebrated Mexican trickster Martín Garatuza was one of those punished in 1648.

Sarmiento de Sotomayor reconstructed the aqueducts supplying water to Mexico City. He required tax stamps on legal documents, something his successors had attempted not very successfully. On May 13, 1648 he turned the government of New Spain over to the new viceroy, Marcos de Torres y Rueda, bishop of Yucatan.

As Viceroy of Peru

That month he departed for Peru, to take up the position of viceroy there. He served as viceroy of Peru until 1655, and remained there until his death in 1659.


  1. Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo, Politics and Reform in Spain and Viceregal Mexico: The Life and Thought of Juan de Palafox 1600-1659. Oxford: Clarendon Press 2004, p. 159.
  2. Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo, Politics and Reform in Spain and Viceregal Mexico: The Life and thought of Juan de Palafox 1600-1659. Oxford: Clarendon Press 2004, p. 155.
  3. Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo, ibid. p. 159.
Government offices
Preceded by
Juan de Palafox
Viceroy of New Spain
Succeeded by
Marcos de Torres
Preceded by
The Marquis of Mancera
Viceroy of Peru
Succeeded by
Luis Enríquez de Guzmán
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